PA German Dialect

Der Belsnickel Un Der Saendi Klaas /
The Belsnickel and Santa Claus

December 16, 1999

Ihr liewe Leit:  

In seim Gedicht "Der Belsnickel" hot der John
Birmelin mol gschriwwe:

"Am Grischtdaag do kummt als der Belsnickel bei,
Was sin doch die Kinner so froh!" 

Es kennt sei ass der Birmelin froh waar weil der
Belsnickel un der Saendi Klaas schunn zimmlich
gleich waare. Der Willard M. George hot sei
Gedicht aa "Der Belsnickel" gheesse, awwer im
Gedicht sehnt mer's Watt "Belsnickel" net ee Mol.
Er Schreibt:

"Was iss dann des?
    Wer faahrt uff mei Graas?
Noh mach ich's Fenschder uff,
    Un do waar der Santy Claus!"

Awwer es waar net immer so! Der Henry
Harbaugh kann uns saage wie die Kinner der Bels-
nickel frieh im neinzeht Yaahrhunnert gsehne
hen:

"O kennscht du den wieschde, den gaschtische Mann?
    Hu! Darf mer den Kall en Mensch heesse?
Ya, ass er en Mensch iss maag glaawe wer kann,
    Er guckt mir zu viel wie der Beese!

"Seh yuscht mol sei Aage, sei Naas---alle Welt!
    Er dutt's Maul uff un zu wie die Scheere;
En Schwans wie'n Ochs, ys, des hot er, gelt?
    Un en haaricher Bels wie die Baere.

"Kummt der in dei Haus, dann gebt's Laerme genunk,
    Er sucht die nixnutziche Kinder!
Un finnt er eens, geht er uff eemol zum Punkt,
    Un dengelt gaar bummrisch die Sinder.

"Er schtellt sich do hie mit der farchbaare Ruud,
    Un brummelt sei drohende Reede;
Do waare die Kinner uff eemol arrig gut
    Un fange recht hefdich aa beede!

"Waar eens, wie's manchmol der Fall iss, recht knitz;
    Wollt die Fitz der Mudder verschpettle;
Ich wett, es lacht net vor der Belsnickelfitz---
    Es dutt um gut Wedder gschwinnt bettle.

"Nau schiddelt der Belsnickel grausam sei Sack,
    Raus falle die Kuche un Keschde;
Wer gut iss, kann lese; wer schlecht iss, dann wack!
    Des schmiert er mit Fitzeel zum Beschde.

"Vum Belsnickel hawwich nau ebbe gelannt,
    Des waer ich aa nie net vergesse:
Noochdem dass mer seeht, watt eem aa in die Aernt

    Die Frucht vum seim Waerk ausgemesse!"

Macht's gut,

Der Alt Professer

Dear people: 
In his poem "The Belsnickel" John Birmelin
once wrote: 

"On Christmas Belsnickel comes by,
How happy the children are!" 

It could be that Birmelin was happy because the
Belsnickel and Santa Claus were already rather one
and the same. Willard M. George called his poem
"The Belsnickel" but in his poem you don't see the
word "Belsnickel" one time. He writes:

"What is that?
Who's driving on my grass?
Then I open the window,
And there is Santa Claus!" 

But it was not always so! Henry Harbaugh can
tell us how the children saw Belsnickel early on in
the nineteenth century: 

"Oh, do you know that ugly, that nasty man?
Wow! Can you call that fellow a human being?
Yes, that he is a human, may be believed by whomever wants to, 
He looks to me too much like the devil! 

"Just look at his eyes, his nose---wow!
He opens and closes his mouth like shears;
A tail like an ox, yes, that he has, right?
And a hairy pelt like the bears. 

"If he comes into your house, there'll be noise enough,
He seeks out the bad children!
And if he finds one, he get right to the point,
And beats, very badly, the sinners. 

"He stands there with that terrible whip,
And grumbles his threatening speech;
The children suddenly become very good
And begin to pray mightily! 

"If one of them, as is sometimes the case, was right mischievous; 
Wanted to mock his mother's whip;
I bet he won't laugh at Belsnickel's whip---
He quickly begs for good weather. 

"Now Belsnickel shakes his bag terribly,
Out fall the cakes and chestnuts;
Whoever is good can pick them up; whoever is bad, then whack!
He flogs him thoroughly." 

From the Belsnickel I have now learned something,
I will never forget it:
After you sow, then in the harvest
The fruit of your work is meted out!

Take care,

The Old Professor

Click here to go to PA German Dialect archive page.

Home  |  PA German Culture  |  Current News  |  PA German Dialect
Links of Interest  |  Membership  |  Publications  |  Order Form

The Pennsylvania German Society
Located in the Zimmerman Cabin

at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center

22 Luckenbill Road

Ephrata, PA 19522

 

Our mailing address is:

The Pennsylvania German Society

P.O. Box 118
Ephrata, PA 19522
(484) 646-4227
Fax: (484) 646-4228
E-mail:
pgs@kutztown.edu

Copyright 2005. The Pennsylvania German Society
Site design and hosting by Reading Eagle Company Internet Services

updated 3-15-2007 paf